Currie sets out plans for Isis American fund

David Currie, the new head of US equities at Isis, believes the fourth-quarter results season is likely to see US companies showing better revenue growth, particularly on stocks exposed to renewed corporate spending.

Currie is taking over the Isis North America fund from Andrew Hudson, who has left the group. He will be restructuring the fund over the next two months, streamlining the portfolio from its current 80 stocks to around 60 and implementing a new team process. Currie joins Isis from Edinburgh Fund Managers, where he was head of US equities.

The existing four-strong North America team at Isis will each be given individual sector responsibilities. Each will be expected to help determine the sector weightings in the fund and the best stocks within the sector. Currie adds: “We want to know what catalysts there are within a stock.”

Currie believes it is important to have a view on all the significant stocks in the market, and know the price at which he would buy each stock. He describes it as building a “library” of stocks, adding: “This puts us in the driving seat when generating ideas. It is less reactive and more proactive.”

Currie says that the consensus for 2004 in the US is that the first half of the year should see continued growth. However, there is debate over whether earnings will wither away in the second half of the year. He believes the economy is strong and although the consumer will decelerate, capital spending should pick up the slack. Currie will be looking at the fourth-quarter results season for clues as to whether earnings numbers are better and, if so, why they are better.

Under previous manager Hudson, the Isis North America fund fell 42.4% over the three years to December 29, leaving it 85th out of 93 funds in the S&P Equity North America category.